Report finds ‘unprecedented levels’ of anxiety, depression among U.S. children
September 15, 2022
Children in the U.S. are struggling with mental health, experiencing “unprecedented levels” of anxiety and depression, according to the 2022 Kids Count Data Book published in early August by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Contributing to the increase in anxiety and depression among children are the ongoing challenges of limited economic resources, which result in reduced food intake, inadequate housing and other factors that negatively impact a person’s social and emotional well-being.
AECF’s annual report assesses the well-being of U.S. children and youth by using a total of 16 negative indicators across four areas: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.
The pandemic caused delays in data collection from the sources used in the Data Book. So, the 2022 report relied on data from a range of years (2016-2020) in some cases, and in other cases, the report used data from 2018-2019, comparing these data sets to earlier data points.
Of the 16 indicators, U.S. children fared better in 10, worse in four and the same in two.
The death rate for children and teens was one notable area of concern, as it increased to 28 deaths per 100,000 population, the highest rate since 2008.
“The rise reflects a large increase in homicides and drug overdoses. In fact, for the first time ever, firearm-related fatalities are the leading cause of death for children and teens,” the report said.
While the overall trends are positive, AECF’s report emphasized that significant disparities remain when data is analyzed based on race and ethnicity.
For example, white children were under the national average for all 16 negative indicators used in the report. By comparison, American Indian and Latino children were both only under the national average for two indicators, while African American children were only under the national average for three indicators.
The full report is available here.